Migraines have been a part of my life since I was five years old. Through the years (I am now 36), in trying to deal with this ongoing cycle of pain, I have been misdiagnosed, mismanaged and misunderstood by traditional doctors, chiropractors and alternative therapists. Unlike most people who get an occasional headache that goes away with a couple of aspirin, I experienced the incredible pain, nausea and sensitivity to smells and light that is typical of many migraine sufferers.
By the time I was in my mid-twenties, I had migraines weekly, and was told by one neurologist that I was lucky, many of his patients had them daily! Although I didn’t let it stop my life, anyone who has had to deal with chronic pain understands how much I treasured the “good” days and dreaded the bad ones.
Approaching this problem logically (for I have always been very goal-oriented and methodical), I learned everything I could about what science and medicine had uncovered regarding the diagnosis, treatment, and medication for migraines.
My treatment over the years included basically every type of preventative medication and pain relievers running the gamut of beta blockers, epilepsy drugs, narcotic painkillers, muscle relaxants, herbal remedies, supplements, and anti-nausea medication. Outside of medication, I tried eliminating trigger foods, stressful situations, and schedule changes. All pretty typical responses to dealing with my condition. For the last ten years I was able to find one drug that worked quite well in stopping the headaches by injecting the medication at the first sign of pain. Unfortunately, I knew my time was limited in using the drug because of its rebound qualities as well as its possible effect on my heart as I grew older.
Around this time, several friends recommended I speak to Jan Mundo, as she had apparently developed some new techniques for dealing with migraines. I have to admit, I was not that enthusiastic, particularly after the first meeting when I realized that many of the initial things I had to do were things I had tried individually before. Even though Jan had emphasized it, it took me a while to realize that was one of the keys. I had, at one time or another, tried pretty much everything, but never in an integrated program trying to look at the problem holistically. Also, she informed me that she would not teach me how to self-apply “the Mundo Method” until well into the program. Skeptical as always, I wanted some guarantees, reassurances, anything, that this would work if I agreed to commit that much time and effort to solving the problem. (Oh, by the way, I had to commute about three hours total to get there.)
But after a couple of months, things began to change. Not only did the headaches reduce in intensity and frequency, but my sleep patterns were better, stress levels were down and physically I became much more comfortable in my body.
By the end of the program I had learned how to stop a headache before it escalated, deal with it when I had one and bounce back faster after it was over. The breathing, relaxation and diet changes, along with applying the Mundo Method when necessary, have almost eliminated the migraines altogether. I also have the added bonus of approaching my entire life in a different way. This change in my typical reaction to situations has been noted by many people, including relatives, friends and co-workers. And I feel as if I have found a new lease on life.
— Michelle Diedrich, VP Marketing in high tech, wife and step-mom
Just to give you a quick update — I’m training for a marathon (which I would NOT have been able to do before with the headaches.) The difference in the way I feel is truly amazing. I’m working with Team in Training which helps raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society while training people for endurance programs.
My plan is to run the Nike 26.2 in San Francisco in October. Yes it’s true, no longer having the migraines has enabled me go for such an incredible goal! I think it is an interesting story of how things can change when you aren’t in pain 30% of the time. It also gave me a great perspective on what people with cancer go through.